Saturday, May 31, 2014

Views on 'Future of Power Distribution Franchisee Model in India' by Dr. Murhari Kele, CE (Mumbai), MSEDCL

Dr. Murhari S. Kele,
Chief Engineer,
MSEDCL, Mumbai.
Power Distribution Franchisee (PDF) model in India saw mixed results across various operating areas so far. While the model saw good momentum after Bhiwandi success story with various states opting for the same, but there is no second success story to further boost the growth of the model.  

pManifold team recently spoke with Dr. Murhari Kele, an industry expert in Power Distribution Franchisee to understand his viewpoints on Future scenario of model. (The views here are personal views, and not to be associated with any company in any forms)

1. Power Distribution Franchisee (PDF), one of the reforms in power distribution utilities has seen ups and downs since its inception in 2007? What is your opinion on privatization of Indian Power Distribution Utilities, and opting Franchisee model as a possible precursor for same (compared with other private models like Delhi PPP model, PPP concessionaire, etc.)?

After inception of The Electricity Act-2003, SEB’s were unbundled in various activities. Power distribution reforms through National Tariff policy & National Electricity policy speaks about the private sector participation in public utilities through various models, like PPP model, franchisee model or full privatisation. These types of operating models are used for turnaround of loss making utilities. Each model is having its own characteristics with risks & challenges. But based on performance of various models for last five years, it shows that private ownership was superior both for PPP & to public ownership. With private ownership there were two models namely Privatisation & second Franchisee. In terms of reduction of system losses the performance of both PPP model in Delhi  & Franchisee model in Bhiwandi, the results were dramatic & comparable. These were obtained not only by better management practices, better surveillance etc but also by providing superior services to customers. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Initiatives / steps taken by UGVCL to improve operational efficiency

The Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited (UGVCL), a second largest state discom in Gujarat serving almost 2.9 million customers, has its network spread across an area of 49,950 Sq. Km. It was the rated the second best state power distribution utility, by the Ministry of Power (MoP), with due recognition to its excellent performance in the financial front, and ensuing operational improvement and consumer-friendly practices.

The discom is forefront in taking effective steps to improve operational efficiency and provide better services to customers. Some of the steps taken have been the introduction of system strengthening schemes, expansion of metering coverage, installation of special design transformers that help in peak load management, an insurance policy to compensate for crops destroyed by fire due to electrical line faults and launch of a photo billing system. Through these, the utility has been trying to control its rising aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses but also help in peak load management through the installation of advanced metering infrastructure.

A brief outline on different types of steps taken by the discom are mentioned below:

Operational performance

The utility’s AT&C losses have been increasing since 2010-11, when these stood at 6.63%. The losses touched 10.12% in 2011-12 and 14.07% in 2012-13; with increase in losses being attributed to low metering coverage of agricultural consumers, which only accounts for 36.75% in 2012-13, as compared to 28% in 2008-09, out of the total 100% metering provided. To address this issue, the utility

  • Releasing all new agricultural connections at metered tariffs. In 2013-14, it released 22,278 new agricultural connections and additional load of 201 MW for existing agricultural connections, by installing 3000 km of HIgh Tension (HT) lines, and 55 agricultural feeders, following bifurcation of existing agricultural feeders
  • Launched a state sponsored scheme viz., Jyotigram Yojana, introduced in 2006, which ensures 24×7 three phase quality power, the utility supplies electricity to scattered farm-houses, through feeders with specially designed Jyotigram transformers
  • Installs AB conductor cables in theft prone areas, undertaking mass anti-theft drives and replacement of electromechanical meters with static meters to bring losses below 20% for feeders with higher losses   
  • Ensures timely and accurate billing in order to reduce losses by initiating photo billing system for 0.2 million consumers, sending billing information to consumers by SMS, and installation of radio frequency (RF)-based single phase meters to avoid human intervention in meter reading
  • Ensures energy conservation, cost efficiency and reduction in distribution transformer losses, the utility has introduced special design transformers – pilot advanced transformers (PATs) which provides single-phase power supply to farmers after the eighth hour; and this concept won the utility the 'India Utility Knowledge and Networking Forum (IUKAN) 2014 – Best Practice Award' under the “Innovations and Others” category.
Smart Grid Pilot

UGVCL is one of the utility short listed for smart grid initiative under MoP. The project is being undertaken in two districts – Naroda and Deesa. The Rs. 487.8 million pilot project will cover about 375 substations across these districts. The scope of the project covers AT&C loss reduction, peak load management, developing advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), optimisation of unscheduled interchange charge, reduction in meter reading cost, outage management, load forecasting, demand side management and demand response, introduction of asset management systems and power quality management.

Five consortiums were shortlisted for proof of concept (PoC) in March 2014 for demonstrating their AMI connectivity solutions with 300 meters each. On basis of evaluation of PoC and bid price, the contract for the project will be awarded in September 2014. Few challenges faced by UGVCL at tendering stage includes interoperability issues, limited expertise of Indian companies, and absence of mechanisms to test imported technologies in India.

Future Plans

In a nutshell, the utility’s future plans are aimed at strengthening and upgrading its grid infrastructure through various initiatives like adding distribution lines at 11kV and LT levels, including the smart grid pilot. Loss reduction measures and ensuring consumer satisfaction through quality power supply are its top priorities, going forward. 

Please note: Above is the summary of the article on Power Distribution Franchisee model published in PowerLine magazine, April 2014.

Posted by: Kunjan Bagdia @ pManifold

Monday, May 5, 2014

Suez bagged 3 contracts in India, Water supply project for twin cities in Orissa, An Interview with Mr.Siddarth Agarwal - Founder & CEO Mobicule Technologies and More...

This is the newsletter for the month of May, 2014 sent to mailing list of pManifold sharing Water Distribution Industry opportunities and updates.

We continue to bring you key developments in the Water Distribution Industry.

New Water Project Highlights in April - 2014
  • Suez Environment receives three contracts in india worth Rs. 505 crore more...
  • Orissa Government has taken up urban water supply project for Twin city Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack in PPP Mode more...
Top News Highlights of April - 2014
  • Irrigation Department had flouted norms for KIKVI irrigation Project to improve Water supply in Nashik worth Rs. 273 Crore more…
  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister claims credit for water desalination project in Chennai more...
  • Privatization of water makes water as an owned commodity rather than a Universal Human Right more…
  • Karnataka Government has 800 Cr to handle drinking water crisis, said Rural Development Minister more…
  • Brickworks gives stable outlook for Nangloi Water Services Project more...
  • "Mobility is next big thing in Indian Utilities" - Mr. Siddharth Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Mobicule 
    pManifold recently had discussion with Mr. Agarwal about his vision on mobility and Indian Utilities. Read 
  • Do Pro-Poor Policies Increase Water Coverage? more...
  • A Lecture on PPP in US Water Sector & Helping Municipalities with complexity more...
Upcoming Water Events
  • Aquatech India - 2014,6 to 8 May, New Delhi more...
  • 2nd International Conference on Waste Water Technology for Greening India 2014, 2nd June, Pune more..
  • WaterTech India - 2014, 10 to 12 September, New Delhi more...

pManifold's Utility Practice details can be viewed here. Please contact me at 91 9970 46 2580 or at, if you would like to know more about us.
pManifold's services in Utility ranges from Go-to-Market Research & Advisory, Technical Feasibility, Financial Bid Advisory, Takeover Advisory, Analytics, Customer Intelligence & Satisfaction Monitoring, process improvement consulting, organizing stakeholder conferences and others.

JSEB Franchisee bid date extension, DF model way forward, PQ and loss reduction interconnection - Power Distribution Newsletter, May 2014

This is the newsletter for the month of May, 2014 sent to mailing list of pManifold sharing Power Distribution Industry opportunities and updates.

We continue to bring you key developments in the Power Distribution Industry.
·    Bid submission date for JSEB floated tenders for appointment of Collection based Rural Distribution Franchisee has been again extended until 19th May, 2014. (See RFPDFA)
Key Updates from existing operators
·    SNDL's meter replacement drive is nearing completion and has resulted in reduction of distribution losses. In addition, the company has invested over Rs. 100 Cr. for augmenting the infrastructure. (Read here)
·    Recognizing operational excellence of ground staffs like engineers, lineman, substation, etc., Jaipur discoms to incorporate their views and suggestions in speeding up the consumer grievance Redressal mechanism and other services. (Read here)